Three households are represented, two on Merseyside and one in London. The Irish Census was free, but I had to pay £6.95 for 60 credits, just enough to view the three household transcripts and one original page, that of my own grandparents with my father and aunt as teenagers. But first the London household. The Index simply gave me Esther, aged 41 (so born 1870) and Eileen, aged 3 (so born 1908), presumably mother and daughter, both in West Ham in the County of Essex.
The transcript showed that on Census night they were visitors in the home of Wallace E. and Catherine Stephen at 8 Argyle Road, Custom House East, Canning Town, West Ham, Essex. Although having been married 18 years there were no children listed, though they appeared to have two boys living with them, both nephews, William Belcher aged 19, an Apprentice and Arthur Belcher, aged 17, occupation Vanguard. William had been born in Cubitt Town, Middlesex (1894) and Arthur in Upton Park, Essex (1896). The transcript showed some other interesting things. Wallace was a shipwright born in Gillingham, Kent. Esther the visitor was a general Domestic Servant, born, as was Wallace's wife Catherine, in Naas, Co.Kildare, in Ireland. Naas is famous for its racecourse, just outside Dublin. Catherine was 46 and Esther 41, both from Naas. We can assume that Esther was visiting her sister.
But there is more, not revealed by the Census. The transcript tells us that Esther was married, though where her husband was we have no idea. He was John McIlhagga, a ship's carpenter, son of John, and he was Esther's second husband. Her maiden name was Loakman and her first husband was William John Belcher, a Police Constable who had died four years earlier. So how were William and Arthur Belcher related? They were nephews to Wallace and Catherine, so must have been sons of a sister of William or Catherine, presumably Esther! So Esther was visiting not only to see her sister but to see her own two boys, William and Arthur, who maybe had gone to live with the Stephens when Esther remarried.
From other sources we can add that Catherine and Esther were daughters of Patrick Loakman and Mary Ann Brady. Esther and William John Belcher had four children, Esther Caroline (1890-1980), William John (b.1894), Arthur (b.1896) and May. William John had two daughters. Arthur's occupation was given in 1911 as 'Vanguard'. This may mean that at the young age of 17 he was serving on HMS Vanguard. The ship was sunk in an explosion in 1917 and we know from Military records that Arthur was killed in the First World War. Esther and John McIlhagga had six children, John Joseph (1902-1978) who emigrated to America, Edith Agnes (b.1905), Eileen Margaret Mary (1908-1979), Irene (d.1978), Theresa and Cissie.
As we have noted, both the other households were on Merseyside. One person, Agnes aged 20, was in the district of Liverpool, Lancashire and the other four in nearby West Derby, Lancashire. They were William aged 44 (so born 1867), Margaret 43 (born 1868) and their two teenage children, Lindsay 17 (born 1894) and Margaret 13 (born 1898). The years given in a Census can of course only be approximate. William was in fact born in 1866, Margaret in 1867, Lindsay in 1893 and Margaret in 1897. Agnes was a boarder of 'private means', living with John and Catherine Williams and their teenage son Mark at 70 Blenheim Street in the central Scotland area of Liverpool. She was in fact Agnes Barbour McIlhagga, daughter of Thomas who married Margaret Sinclair Galbraith. Her mother Margaret had died four years previously and her father Thomas does not seem to be around over the next few years, as Agnes was to marry five years later from the same address. She married Michael Doyle in a Roman Catholic Church, one of the few instances where we have a clan marriage across denominations.
Agnes' father, Thomas, was a younger brother of William, the head of the other Merseyside family. We learn from the Census that William was a Commercial Traveller in fish, game, poultry and oysters. He had been born in Greenock, Renfrew and clearly work had brought him to Merseyside. He, his wife Margaret (nee McLean) and two children were living at 9 Palmerston Drive, Litherland. Margaret aged 13 was at school, but Lindsay, 17, had left school and become a Junior Commercial Clerk with a Corn Merchant. He was to become the Managing Director of a Jute Firm which had moved down from Dundee to Liverpool. They lived in a seven roomed house and had living with them Ann Jane Hamilton, single, aged 49, who was their General Servant (Domestic), born in Liverpool, not as far as we know, a relation.